Posted: 02/19/2021

A Museum for Every Interest in Lancaster, PA

From history to hands on, we’ve got you covered.

A Museum for Every Interest in Lancaster, PA

Many museums remain closed in an abundance of caution and following the statewide order of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf prohibiting non-essential activity. We’re endeavoring to keep our web content up to date, but please double-check with local venues and businesses for their current operating schedule.

History to hands-on, art to industrial – there’s a museum for every interest in Lancaster and the surrounding area. They are the perfect place to spend a cold or rainy afternoon or wander around to escape the summer’s heat. You can dive into local history or let the kids learn with hands-on activities and experiments.

Find the museum that strikes your fancy and get ready to learn.

Transportation: Automobiles, locomotives and fire trucks – oh my! Learn about these vehicles and their history, and browse many relics of past eras that relate to how people moved from place-to-place. Dive into the history and effects of these vehicles on society.

AACA Museum (Hershey) is an automotive museum featuring antique vehicles, movie-themed exhibits and the famous Hershey’s kissmobile.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (Strasburg) is a railroad museum celebrating Pennsylvania’s rich railroading history.

The Pennsylvania National Fire Museum (Harrisburg) is a museum devoted to fire fighter heritage and history.

Photos from left to right: AACA Museum, Railroad Museum of PA & the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum

Just for Kids: If cabin fever has set in or you’re looking for a way to sneak learning into summer break, head over to one of Lancaster’s kid-centric museums. Science fun can be found at Lancaster Science Museum and North Museum, while kids can dive deep into their imaginations at Hands-on House. These museums making learning fun!

Lancaster Science Factory (Downtown Lancaster) is a hands-on, interactive museum featuring exhibits that tap into science, technology and engineering.

North Museum of Nature and Science (Downtown Lancaster) is a science museum specializing in natural science with a live animal room, planetarium and collections of rocks, fossils and more.

Hands-on House Children’s Museum (Lancaster) is an interactive museum featuring exhibits that promote hands-on learning through play.

The Hershey Story (Hershey) is a family-friendly museum celebrating the life and work of Milton S. Hershey, and the town known for chocolate making.

Photos from left to right: Lancaster Science Factory, North Museum of Nature and Science & Hands-on House

History: As one of America’s oldest inland cities, Lancaster is packed with history and the historical sites that celebrate it. Many include tours with guides dressed in period clothes and special reenactments that create a truly immersive experience. From early settlers to the first (and only) president from PA, you’ll learn the way of life from back in the day.

LancasterHistory/President Buchanan’s Wheatland (Downtown Lancaster) is a history center featuring exhibits and galleries centering on Lancaster’s history and the former home of James Buchanan, America’s 15th president

Hans Herr House and Museum (Willow Street) is a historic home built in 1719 featuring several barns and outbuildings, animals, and exhibits focusing on Mennonite history and colonial and Victorian farm life

Christiana Underground Railroad Center (Christiana) is a free, publicly accessible historical site detailing the town’s involvement in the Underground Railroad, located at the Zercher’s hotel

Ephrata Cloister (Ephrata) is a historic religious community dating back to the 1730s where visitors can explore the buildings and the community’s unique way of life

Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum (Lancaster) is a 100-acre living history museum that presents Pennsylvania German history and culture

Photos from left to right: President James Buchanan’s Wheatland, Hans Herr House and Museum & Ephrata Cloister

Industrial: From the production of large pieces of iron and steel to the more intricate creation of watches and clocks, you’ll get a peek at these industries – from their history to their present day artistry. If you’re fascinated by how things are made, you’ll dig the following museums.

The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum (Coatesville) is a museum that celebrates steelmaking and the Lukens and Huston families, who produced steel used in many notable projects

Cornwall Iron Furnace (Cornwall) is a historical site that is home to America’s most complete charcoal fueled ironmaking complex, used in the early American iron industry

National Watch & Clock Museum (Columbia) is a museum solely dedicated to horology – the history, science and art of timekeeping and timekeepers, and featuring an extensive collection to clocks, watches and other timekeeping devices

Photos from left to right: The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum, Cornwall Iron Furnace & National Watch & Clock Museum

Art: For those who prefer to stroll around an art museum, Lancaster has a few to check out during your visit. Many incorporate rotating exhibits into the mix, filling each visit with new art to browse. The variety is superb – from local artists to the work of Charles Demuth.

Demuth Museum (Downtown Lancaster) is a museum housing the paintings of Charles Demuth, located in his former studio and home

Lancaster Museum of Art (Downtown Lancaster) is a small museum showcasing local, regional & international works of art

Phillips Museum of Art (Franklin & Marshall College, Downtown Lancaster) is a museum located at Franklin & Marshall Collage featuring permanent and rotating fine art exhibitions, including student art

Photos from left to right: Demuth Museum, Lancaster Museum of Art & Phillips Museum of Art at F&M

Visit our Museums page to find even more to explore!